• Have a general understanding of search engine optimization so you can apply it properly to your real estate business.
  • There are positive impacts of on-site marketing and off-site marketing.
  • Know that patience can pay off.

Creating a website for your real estate services is a good start to growing your business on the Internet. But your website is only an asset if it can help get quality traffic and generate leads, which is boosted by search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).

To increase the traffic to your website, it will need both on-site marketing or SEO and SEM, or off-site marketing. Be precise in what you want for your on-site optimization.

Even though you show and list homes all over the city, prioritize the market that you are the most familiar with. I live in Sacramento, California. Of course, I can get around the neighborhoods.

However, I am most familiar with the Natomas area, which is just a few ZIP codes. For me, my initial website optimization would be toward this area.

What is SEO all about? SEO is a way to increase the visibility of your website by getting it ranked in the organic searches. Organic searches are simply the results when you key in a search term.

For example, when you search for “home valuation in Houston,” many searches will turn up ranked from No. 1 to — well, who knows. The first website for “home valuation in Houston” listed below the ads is the No. 1 ranked keyword in the organic search.

In this case, it is Zillow. The items above it marked “ads” pay to get in those positions via pay-per-click. One way to dodge that additional fee is to rank naturally for specific keywords — this is the entire premise of SEO. It’s a process.

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Initially, it’s important to set up your website internally for success. Some small steps that help include having your main keyword phrase in the title of the site.

It’s also a plus to have keyword phrases in your content — but don’t overdo it. The keywords should naturally fit with the other text.

Content is still king for the main search engines. Having a blog that you post on at least once a month will help with visibility on major search engines including Google, Yahoo and Bing. These are just a few items that help with on-site optimization. Of course, don’t neglect to have a well-written, grammatically correct website.

Off-site search engine optimization is called search engine marketing or SEM. After pages are optimized for search engines, off-site promotion would include building one-way links back to the website, pay-per-click, social signals, press releases and more.

The purpose is still the same. You want to get your website recognized by the search engines and move up the rankings to the page 1.

It might seem like a hard road, as it can take anywhere from two months to a year to get ranked high enough for these efforts to be worth your while. However, once you get your keywords ranked on page 1 for keywords that get decent traffic, you will reap the benefits of more traffic, which hopefully creates steady new business for you.

Geoff Clark is the director of marketing at Hybrid Brokers Realty. Follow him on Facebook.

Email Geoff Clark.